Los Angeles Clippers 2016-17 report cards: Alan Anderson

Alan Anderson might not have seen the floor much this year for the Los Angeles Clippers, but he played a huge part in improving the team’s chemistry.

The Los Angeles Clippers did not get much in the way of on-court production from Alan Anderson. Anderson just barely cracked 300 minutes for the season, averaging just over 10 per game in the 30 games he played. Anderson struggled both from the floor and from behind the arc. His defense was nothing to write home about.

However, anyone who watched the Clippers warm up this year could see Anderson’s contributions. He may have spent most of the season on the bench, but no one was more supportive of their teammates. His contributions on the court were limited, but his contributions off the court were vital.

Anderson is a prime example of when numbers cannot tell the whole story. Even during the darkest moments of the Clippers’ season, he maintained his positive attitude and did all that he could to spread that to his teammates. While his work on the court alone might not be worth a contract in the offseason, his vital work during the rest of the NBA schedule makes him worth every penny.

On-Court Struggles

While it sounds cruel, Anderson was probably the  Los Angeles Clippers’ least effective player this season. He managed to play more minutes than Paul Pierce but somehow did less in that time than Pierce did. Anderson was probably more effective than either Diamond Stone or Brice Johnson, but at 34 years old he is not a part of the future.

Anderson shot 37.5 percent from the floor and just 31.8 percent from deep. Even when teams refused to respect his shot, he would often prove them right by missing his target:

Anderson’s True Shooting Percentage of 49.4 percent was well below Pierce’s 53.5 percent mark. Anderson would have been last on the team in True Shooting (barring the two rookies who combined for 33 minutes) had Wesley Johnson not barfed up a True Shooting percentage of 44.8 percent.

His defense was not much better. Anderson finished the year with a Defensive Real Plus-Minus of -1.04. His Defensive Rating of 114, per NBA.com, was the second-worst mark on the team behind Brandon Bass (once again excluding the 24-minute sample size of Diamond Stone) and was far worse than the team’s rating of 105.8.

While he did not spend all that much time on the floor, Alan Anderson was nonetheless a net negative on the court. His -10.8 Net Rating was one of the worst Net Ratings on the team and fell well short of the team’s +4.5 Net Rating. Alan Anderson should not be judged only by his on-court performance, but he certainly comes up short in that regard.

Grade: D

Off-Court Brilliance

Anderson’s poor play on the court is the complete opposite of his importance off the court. Doc Rivers lauded Anderson’s demeanor early in the season, calling him the “best teammate in the world” in an interview with NBA.com’s Josh Martin.

Chris Paul, a notoriously tough teammate, also heaped praise on Anderson. When discussing Anderson’s elaborate pregame handshakes and locker room energy, Paul made it clear just how highly he valued Anderson’s contributions.

“As you can see, every night he’s the one that’s sort of rallying guys,” he said.

DeAndre Jordan went even further with his praise, calling Anderson, “One of the best teammates I’ve ever had.”

Anyone who showed up early to a Los Angeles Clippers game this year got to see Anderson rallying the troops. Despite his lack of playing time and the ever-shifting injury landscape of the team, he did all that he could to keep spirits high.

The Clippers aren’t the only team that loved having Anderson around. His former coach Dwane Casey went as far as to say that he “think[s] every team in the league would like to have Alan” after the Clippers signed him.

Few players receive praise from their former coach after signing with another team. Even fewer players would receive the universal plaudits that Casey heaped upon him. The fact that so many former and current teammates and coaches speak so highly of Anderson says volumes about his character and his importance to any locker room lucky enough to have him.

Grade: A+

Overall

The Los Angeles Clippers have a potentially tumultuous offseason ahead of them. They seem more and more likely to lose J.J. Redick in free agency every day. Both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are virtual locks to decline their player options and test free agency. The rumors about Doc Rivers leaving for Orlando continue to pop up, even as Rivers denies them.

With all of that in mind, retaining Alan Anderson may be more important than ever before. He might not be able to carry the team on the court. However, he would be vital to keeping the team in check off the court.

The Clippers have far bigger problems to worry about this season than Alan Anderson. That being said, he was a huge factor in keeping spirits high during a tumultuous 2016-17 season. With a potentially more tumultuous season approaching, re-signing Anderson to a minimum contract may be one of the best moves of the Clippers’ offseason — even if he never sets foot on the court.

Grade: B+

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